With Honda officially announcing that the CR-Z will start at a base price of "just under" $20,000 when it reaches dealerships in the U.S. by the end of August, it will undoubtedly reside in a class all alone. No other vehicle offers the combination of sporty looks, a hybrid powertrain and a six-speed manual transmission option at that price. In fact, if you desire that six-speed manual trans, the CR-Z is your only hybrid choice available.
Even with the bargain basement pricing and the exclusivity of the manual trans, Honda may have a hard time overcoming some potential CR-Z drawbacks that could turn buyers away. Concerns over low mileage ratings – estimated at 34 miles per gallon combined with a row-your-own gearbox and 37 mpg on the auto – are not the only hurdles that stand in the way of success for the CR-Z. The biggest gripe is that the CR-Z stands two seats short of the norm. Generally speaking, two-seaters share garage space alongside the primary car, a four-seater. That's why we have to doubt Honda's target market of primarily 25- to 35-year-old buyers. Many of these buyers simply don't have the means to own two cars. We're inclined to believe that the CR-Z stands two seats shy of success, but we'd venture to guess that many of you think otherwise, so we're eagerly waiting to hear what you think.